First Chapter from Worldwide Medical Polymer Markets 2013-2020
NanoMarkets believes that medical polymers represents a major opportunity in the medical materials market over the next few years. Several factors are leading to growth in this market. Perhaps the most obvious is the aging of the population in developed nations is expanding the addressable market for polymer implants. Many polymer implants are specifically intended to assist elder patients. Opportunity in this market has also expanded because the latest technical developments in medical polymers can fine tune implant capabilities, enable better fits for implants, and increased biocompatibility. Polymer structures can also now substitute for cartilage or enable doctors to grow a patient’s tissue for transplants. At the same time the new legal protections that followed the silicone breast implant debacle have considerably reduced the risk in the medical polymer space. And as a result of all of these factors, the medical polymer business has taken off, with the emergence of new start ups and plenty of M&A activity. With all that is happening in this space, NanoMarkets is publishing a report that identifies current and future opportunities in the medical polymers space and provides guidance on the technical and regulatory framework in which these opportunities are arising. As with all NanoMarkets reports in the medical materials field, this report includes a granular eight-year forecast and also profiles key suppliers and analyzes the complete supply chain for medical polymers. For the firms covered we discuss their strategies and needs along with their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the report provides an analysis of the market for medical polymers in various important country-specific markets.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - First Chapter from Worldwide Medical Polymer Markets 2013-2020
Worldwide Medical Polymer Markets:
2013 – 2020
Published August 2013
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Worldwide Medical Polymer Markets: 2013-2020
NanoMarkets believes that medical polymers represents a major opportunity in the
medical materials market over the next few years. Several factors are leading to
growth in this market. Perhaps the most obvious is the aging of the population in
developed nations is expanding the addressable market for polymer implants. Many
polymer implants are specifically intended to assist elder patients.
Opportunity in this market has also expanded because the latest technical
developments in medical polymers can fine tune implant capabilities, enable better fits
for implants, and increased biocompatibility. Polymer structures can also now
substitute for cartilage or enable doctors to grow a patient’s tissue for transplants.
At the same time the new legal protections that followed the silicone breast implant
debacle have considerably reduced the risk in the medical polymer space. And as a
result of all of these factors, the medical polymer business has taken off, with the
emergence of new start-ups and plenty of M&A activity.
With all that is happening in this space, NanoMarkets is publishing a report that
identifies current and future opportunities in the medical space and provides guidance
on the technical and regulatory framework in which these opportunities are arising.
As with all NanoMarkets reports in the medical materials field, this report includes a
granular eight-year forecast and also profiles key suppliers and analyzes the complete
supply chain for medical polymers. For the firms covered we discuss their strategies
and needs along with their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the report provides an
analysis of the market for medical polymers in various important country-specific
TABLE OF CONTENTS
E.1 Opportunities for the Medical Device Market
E.2 Opportunities for the Plastics Industry
E.3 Opportunities for the Healthcare Industry
E.4 Firms and Strategies to Watch in the Medical Polymers Market
E.4.3 Dow Chemical
E.4.4 Dow Corning
E.4.7 Eastman Chemical
E.4.10 Notable Start-ups
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E.5 Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Medical Polymers
Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background to this Report
1.2 Scope and Objective of this Report
1.3 Methodology of this Report
1.3.1 Forecasting Methodology
1.4 Plan of this Report
Chapter Two: Commercial Trends in Medical Polymers
2.1 Generic Advantages and Disadvantages of Polymers for Medical Applications
2.1.1 Advantages of Polymers in Medical Applications
2.1.2 Disadvantages of Polymers in Medical Applications
2.1.3 Replacement of Metals with Polymers in Medical Devices
2.2 Thermoplastics (PMMA, PLA, PGA, PP, PEEK, Polycarbonates)
2.2.1 Uses in Medical Applications
2.2.2 Main Suppliers
2.3.1 Uses in Medical Applications
2.3.2 Main Suppliers
2.4.1 Uses in Medical Applications
2.4.2 Main Suppliers
2.5 Polyvinyl Chloride
2.5.1 Uses in Medical Applications
2.5.2 Main Suppliers
2.6.1 Uses in Medical Applications
2.6.2 Main Suppliers
2.8 Role of Bioplastics in Medical Applications
2.9 Key Points from this Chapter
Chapter Three: Applications for Medical Polymers
3.1 Medical Devices and Implants
3.1.1 Current and Future Use of Polymers
3.1.2 Regenerative Medicine and Orthopedic Implants
3.1.3 Contact Lenses and Lens Implants
3.1.4 Implantable Defibrillators and Related Devices
3.1.5 Breast Implants
3.1.6 Conductive Polymer Neural Implants
3.1.7 Blood Filters
3.1.8 Other Medical Devices Using Polymers
3.1.9 Eight-Year Forecast of Polymers in Implants, by Polymer and Implant Type
3.1.10 Eight-Year Forecast of Polymers in Non-Implantable Devices by Polymer and
3.2 Diagnostic Systems
3.2.1 Type of Polymers Used in Medical Diagnostic Systems
3.2.2 Eight-Year Forecast of Polymers in Diagnostic Systems by Polymer and Device
3.3 Laboratory and Surgical Accessories and Disposables
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3.3.1 Surgical Screws, Nails and Plates
3.3.2 Catheters and Tubing
3.3.3 Surgical Gloves
3.3.4 Sutures and Shunts
3.3.5 Eight-Year Forecast of Polymers in Diagnostic Systems by Polymer and Device
3.4 Summary of Forecasts of Medical Polymers
3.5 Key Points from this Chapter
Chapter Four: National Markets and Regulatory Factors
4.1 Generic Policy Issues Raised by Polymer Medical Devices
4.1.1 Safety Issues Related to Polymer Devices
4.1.2 Problems of Waste Disposal and Management
4.1.3 Healthcare Issues and Aging Populations
4.2 United States
4.2.1 Medical Polymers and the Biomaterials Access Assurance Act of 1998
4.2.2 Impact of “Obamacare”
4.2.3 Role and Impact of the FDA
4.2.4 Analysis of Market for Medical Polymers in the US
4.2.5 Eight-Year Forecast for Medical Polymers in the US
4.3.1 Role and Impact of European Commission and Other Regulatory Authorities in
4.3.2 National Regulations and Regulatory Agencies Impacting Medical Polymer
4.3.3 Analysis of Market for Medical Polymers in Europe
4.3.4 Eight-Year Forecast for Medical Polymers in Europe
4.4.1 National Laws and Regulations Impacting the Medical Polymer Markets
4.4.2 Analysis of Market for Medical Polymers in Japan
4.4.3 Eight-Year Forecast for Medical Polymers in Japan
4.5.1 National Laws and Regulations Impacting the Medical Polymer Markets
4.5.2 Impact of Chinese Industrial Policy on Medical Polymer Markets
4.5.3 Analysis of Market for Medical Polymers in China
4.5.4 Eight-Year Forecast for Medical Polymers in China
4.6.1 National Laws and Regulations Impacting the Medical Polymer Markets
4.6.2 Analysis of Market for Medical Polymers in India
4.6.3 Eight-Year Forecast for Medical Polymers in India
4.7 Other Notable National Markets for Medical Polymers
4.8 Summary of Eight-Year Forecast of Medical Polymers by Country
Worldwide Medical Ceramics Markets: 2013
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Chapter One: Introduction
1.1 Background to this Report
This report summarizes the escalating opportunity for polymers in the healthcare sector. On account
of their versatile properties, polymers have gained respectable popularity in this field, resulting in
their wide-scale use. A direct impact has been the improvement in technologies for the production
of high-quality polymer resins on a large scale.
In addition, major polymer producers are making investments in order to portray themselves as
medical polymer manufacturers. This interest is driven by the market growth of this sector, which
should continue to experience sustained profitability.
Applications: The use of medical polymers in general can be classified into three major domains:
Implants and devices—systems that are used either inside the body or in conjunction
with the body, such as cardiovascular prostheses, ocular lenses, orthopedic implants,
Diagnostic systems—materials in which the analysis and detection of the causative
reasons for illness are carried out in a timely fashion, ensuring follow up treatment
Hospital accessories—surgical, microbiological, pathological, and clinical labware
commonly employed in day-to-day operations.
All of these applications are expected to grow in size and volume as people in both developing and
developed nations vie for better medical treatments and procedures. Advances in polymer
technology are overcoming certain performance barriers and enabling these materials to meet the
stringent requirements of this sector, particularly for the implants and devices segment, where the
polymers are intended for "inside the body" usage.
Segmentation: The medical polymer market is segmented based on the physical nature of the
polymer materials into two categories: plastic resins and fibers and elastomers. They are also
classified as biostable/non-biodegradable or biodegradable. Resins are liquid-soluble polymers,
while fibers come in long elongated shapes.
Resins and fibers: Non-biodegradable medical resins and fibers are rigid plastics, including
thermally remoldable and fixed thermoplastics and thermosets. Examples are polyethylene (PE),
polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyamides (PA),
polyfluoroterephthalate (PFTE), polyvinyl alcohols (PVA), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA),
polyhydroxy ethyl methacrylate (PHEMA), polycarbonate (PC), polystyrene (PS), polyesters, etc.
These resins are all polymerized from their respective monomers via different polymerization
techniques in processes that have been optimized to provide high yields of high-quality product.
Thermoplastics are predominately used in the healthcare sector because they meet the demanding
property requirements of the medical industry.
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The mechanical properties of plastics are further improved with the help of additives, such as
coloring agents, stabilizers, rheology modifiers, etc. Extensive cross-linking results in a random
three-dimensional network of interconnected chains. As one might expect, extensive cross-linking
produces a substance that has more rigidity, hardness, and a higher melting point than the
equivalent polymer without cross-linking.
While these polymers are easily processed, the threat of additive or unreacted monomer leaching
during use is significant, particularly for in-vivo implantable devices, and must be addressed. Dow
Chemical, for example, suffered a major setback due to the leaching of small molecules into the
bloodstream of patients from implants manufactured with its polymeric material. Better
processability is sought in order to reduce such side effects, while utmost care is also taken to
characterize any biomaterial in order to prevent the ghastly scenario of tissue reaction.
Elastomers: Unlike plastics, elastomers are able to withstand large deformations and still regain
their original dimensions once the stretching force is released, and thus have a rubber-like elasticity.
Such materials have a combination of stiffness, stretchability, resilience, and toughness. Non-
biodegradable elastomers include silicon (Si) rubber, polyurethanes (PU), natural rubber (NR), butyl
rubber, and very recently, machined thermoplastic elastomers. Although all have extensive
applications in the mechanical and electrical world, Si rubber, Pus, and TPEs also have many
1.1.1 Boom in Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPES) and Engineered Plastics
(Super Specialty Plastics)
In addition to the commodity polymers mentioned above, new-age elastomers are gaining
importance in the medical market today. Commercial elastomers synthesized without physical or
chemical crosslinks or vulcanization have more flexible molecular networks. They have both
thermoplastic and elastomeric properties, providing a “soft touch”. In addition, because they are
easily manufactured using a variety of techniques, they are being added to the portfolios of large
The device industry is specifically using them to coat accessories, such as catheters, gloves, and
syringes, in order to impart a soft touch feel. Their use is expected to grow in intravenous drug
delivery systems, cardio systems, and blood collection devices because engineered TPEs have
high barrier properties along with other benefits.
Copolymeric products, or engineered polymers, improve the working efficiency of some of the
above-mentioned polymers by incorporating unique feature that can benefit the medical industry.
With this approach, significant properties of individual polymer chains can be specifically introduced
into the final product. A good example is the gas-permeable ocular lenses provided by major eye
care companies such as Bausch and Lomb. The lens is an amalgamation of many polymeric
components and also has minute pores that make it permeable to oxygen, providing better
efficiency than previously available rigid lenses.
Selection of a polymer for a given application also depends on it sterilizability, because all
instruments and devices must be sterilized before they are implanted. Elastomers, TPEs, and
engineered thermoplastics can be sterilized by radiation or steam, and they are also autoclavable.
The challenge is to render them stable where repeatable sterilization cycles are employed for
different applications, such as for diagnostics and labware products.
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1.1.2 Rise of Degradable Polymers
The last decade has seen the rise of biodegradable polymers in terms of both production and
utilization in the medical sector. These materials are crucial to the paradigm shift from biostable
polymers, particularly for the facilitation of drug delivery in a controlled manner while leaving little
material inside the body. The current trend suggests that in the near future, entire prostheses will
be developed from these materials.
While they will not be used to manufacture diagnostic products, biodegradable polymers will be
incorporated into implants and some clinical labware to a large extent. In fact, drug eluting stents
available on the market today already contain biodegradable polymer coatings.
The market for such innovative devices will undoubtedly grow due to the explosion of lifestyle
diseases. The limiting factor for these polymers is, again, the leaching of small molecules from the
materials. At present, natural polymers and degradable polymers approved by regulatory bodies
such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are predominant. There is some additional
interest in discovering new biodegradable polymers for medical applications, but investment in this
area is limited due to the need to complete extensive long-term studies in order to validate new
1.1.3 Important Points for Manufacturers
Companies venturing into medical polymer manufacturing must comply with strict
production technology processes and procedures, taking care not only during the synthesis
of these materials, but also ensuring storage of these products in a contamination-free
It is critical to control the quantity, quality, molecular characteristics, and leaching properties
of all of the ingredients used to prepare the polymeric material, including not only the
monomers, but any plasticizers, crosslinkers, coloring agents, stabilizers, fillers,
reinforcements, impact modifiers, flame retardants, etc. Concerns about leaching of such
molecules are pertinent for implants, but not so critical for diagnostic systems. It should be
noted here that the additive processing industry will also be affected by the determination
of acceptability of such biomaterials.
Biocompatibility and compliance with region-specific regulations is imperative for the
optimal use of any medical product. There is some flexibility in working with previously
approved polymers. It is recommended that new manufacturers build their base with such
polymers before investing in new polymer development efforts.
The various medical applications require specific polymers engineered to give unique
features. It is therefore recommended that players in this market deal with individual
segments one at a time.
For home-based healthcare appliances, such as glucometers, blood pressure monitors,
and kidney dialysis, blood filtering, nebulizing, and breathing machines, color branding and
aesthetics often drive consumer preferences. Diagnostics systems and hospital
accessories require polymers with easy processability, flexibility, optical clarity, etc.
Prostheses, grafts, and devices placed internally should be favorably designed to provide
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1.2 Scope and Objectives of this Report
This report is the first analysis from NanoMarkets on the market for polymers used in medical
applications. It is a comprehensive study of current trends in the market, including industry drivers
and limitations on the growth of polymers in the healthcare sector. The report provides an outline
of the technological aspects of various polymers used for the production of implantable devices,
surgical accessories and disposables, and diagnostic systems.
Specifically, the objective of this report is to analyze the polymers currently used in medical
applications and evaluate their opportunities in this field. Market projections for the next eight years
are provided along with a brief description of various essential medical products, their
manufacturers, and the raw polymeric materials.
The forecasts are executed based on an inherent technical understanding of currently used
polymers and their characteristics. We have also relied on various scientific papers from journals
and literature from various companies (brochures, annual reports, and articles) in order to
understand the requirements for polymers used in the medical industry.
In addition, we have also focused our attention on the regulatory mechanisms, policies, laws, and
authorities in the U.S., Europe, and the Asia-Pacific regions in order to provide an idea of what it
takes for a manufacturer producing polymers to generate medically-approved materials. The report
also covers what is required for a medical device or system to be accepted clinically and the
implications for long-term use of polymeric materials.
Readers of this report will gain the following:
An analytical review of polymers used for medical applications, including developing
implants, diagnostic systems, and hospital labware.
Knowledge on current technical and market trends, including general market drivers for
improvement in the healthcare sector, polymer production, and evaluation for clinical
An understanding of key medical products and their future implications.
A pin-pointed analysis of the changing dynamics of polymer producers.
Eight–year forecasts established based on expected market growth.
A brief technological road map for understanding industry growth.
Profiles of major companies operating as manufacturers of medical polymers.
Insight into important geographical locations pertaining to polymer and healthcare sectors.
Information on the size of the medical polymer market in developed nations and the fast-
growing economies in Asia, such as China and India.
Details of the regulatory requirements of these countries for producing high-quality,
medically approved polymers and their use in various applications.
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Help in making business decisions for venturing into the medical polymer market.
Descriptive and distinctive graphics, along with concise, tabular analyses of various
1.3 Methodology and Information Sources
The forecasting approach in this report identifies and quantifies the underlying addressable
markets, various polymer applications and penetrations in those markets, and the performance of
the medical polymers industry in leading geographical regions. We also evaluate the stated plans
of key firms in the market in our forecasting analysis. Forecasting is done for an eight-year period.
To determine where the opportunities lie, we have based this report on information from a variety
Information is gathered largely from primary sources through NanoMarkets' analysis of
relevant applications markets and market trends based on discussions with key players,
including interviews with entrepreneurs, business owners, business development and
marketing managers, and technologists involved with various aspects of the medical
Secondary research for this report was also taken from information available on the World
Wide Web, commercial and government databases, trade press articles, technical
literature, information learned at technical conferences and trade shows, and SEC filings
and other corporate literature.
This report is international in scope. The forecasts are worldwide forecasts and we have not been
geographically selective in the firms that we have covered in this report or interviewed in order to
1.4 Plan of this Report
Chapter Two examines the various advantages, disadvantages, and applications of medical
polymers. It also identifies some of the leading suppliers and their products on the market.
Chapter Three analyzes the current and future uses of medical polymers and provides detailed
eight-year forecasts. The current and future uses of medical polymers are further divided into
various applications, such as regenerative medicine and orthopedic implants, contact lenses,
defibrillators, blood filters, etc. In addition, applications of polymers in diagnostic systems and
laboratory and surgical accessories are also discussed. Forecasts are presented for each device
type and application.
In Chapter Four, we focus on leading national markets (U.S., Europe, Japan, China, and India) and
regulatory factors. National laws and regulations impacting the medical polymer markets are
analyzed for each of the leading markets. The analysis examines both the positive and negative
aspects of these regulatory factors. Eight-year forecasts are also presented for each of the leading